Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Returning Orioles

Update March 22nd
Devil eye night feeding Hummers?
Just a shot too far for the flash (to get faster shutter speed), the sun had just set - but not as dark as the photo makes it look.

Update March 19th - Last day of Winter this year!
We had a cold rainy weekend, last blast from Ole Man Winter. The rain messed up the solution in many of the feeders so time to flush and refill. Hummers are picky about their food!
Also, first regular photo of the incoming Orioles. He looks a bit lonely sitting up on a branch announcing his presence. Hopefully he gets some buddies soon.

March 13th - The first Orioles were sighted March 9th, a week earlier than last year. As before, the first arrivals are adult males decked out in orange and black. One was even caught a few days later on the time lapse camera on the blog.
Soon the females should be arriving.

Also, a few new hummers are showing up. There is at least one male Allen's or maybe Rufus buzzing the feeders near the middle of the yard. The brown coat shows up clearly as he hovers in the sunlight.
Here is a shot of an Allen's on the left, two Anna's to the right. Remember, click any image for a bigger view.

A male Anna's playing peek a boo in the Monkeyflower bush just below the feeder.

A couple of perched male Anna's and a female Anna's with another male zooming in from the right - no spot to land!

We have just finished up with a nice rain storm - 1.45" over a couple days. Doesn't seemed to have bothered the birds any.

 Caught on tape trying to wash some bees away!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Oriole of 2012

A week earlier than last year, first sighting of our spring/summer visiting orioles was Saturday, March 10. As last year, the first oriole to the backyard was a colorful male Hooded Oriole. He is probably scouting for  reliable food supply for his future family. Hooded Orioles are most likely sighted in most of San Diego county, Scott's orioles tend to be in the more arid parts of the county. Looking forward to the chatter and antics of several families of orioles spending the next few months hanging around.
I have a few feeders converted from hummingbird configuration to oriole friendly. Hopefully, there are still bee unfriendly. Seems as though this year may be more of a challenge regarding bees possibly due to the warmer than usual winter and much less than normal rain. We will see how the year progresses.
Speaking of spring visitors, I may have seen the first Rufus or Allen's hummingbirds at the feeders. The sighting was of a female so coloration is much more subtle and thus more difficult to ID, but there seemed to be a lot of brown on the chest to tail area. The non migrating Anna's have very little brown, being more green and gray with slight patches of red on the throat for the females. Of course, the male Anna's have the very striking head coloration that looks either black or brilliant red depending on the sun angle.

Update - March 11 Sunday
We saw 2 Hooded Orioles at the same time today, good evidence of the birds making their spring showing. Also, pretty confident sighting of a male Allen's hummingbird - notable for being one of the 2 hummers that are mostly brown.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Awaiting The Return

It's the second week of March - if last year is an indication, the Orioles should begin to arrive in a week. I thought they may be early this year - what with the mild winter/early spring. Last year a colorful male was first to be sighted in the backyard. I need to start preparing the feeders for the orioles. Only one 'Oriole feeder' is configured for orioles. The rest have been modified for bee resistance. Speaking of which, typically, the bees are not a problem until closer to summer. They have been more consistently a problem this year.
Update March 9, reading yesterday's local paper last night - Scott's Orioles have been sighted in Escondido as well as Western Bluebirds. Hoping to see the orioles in my backyard soon.

A bit off topic - Rice Paddy art (not quite crop circles!)